Singer Taylor Swift has been slapped with a trademark infringement suit by apparel brand, Lucky 13. The Southern California-based company filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California this week, claiming that Swift and her companies (Taylor Nation, Taylor Swift Productions, Swift Merchandising and TAS Rights Management) violated its federally registered trademarks by using “Lucky 13” on t-shirts and in connection with an online contest.
The company, which was founded in 1991 by Bobby Kloetzly and which currently stocks in the U.S., as well as internationally, alleges that Swift’s image (most specifically, Swift’s “permanent or temporary tattoos and her marketing herself as liking fast cars and dangerous men who drive them inappropriately, as demonstrated by her ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ music video”), “undeniably and squarely fits within the exact consumer demographic to whom Lucky 13 markets and sells its LUCKY 13 Goods.” Moreover, Kloetzly alleges that “Swift’s conduct has been and will continue to be malicious, fraudulent, deliberate, willful, intentional, and in disregard of Plaintiffs’ intellectual property rights.”
According to Lucky 13’s complaint, “While Swift’s merchandising and licensing team obsessively focuses on the Swift brand, it ignores the intellectual property rights of others.” Lucky 13 goes on state: “There can be no doubt that Swift – who has an extensive trademark portfolio and numerous business and licensing partners, and whose record label is even named the ‘Big Machine’ – knows, understands and substantially profits from her carefully cultivated and meticulously managed trademarks and brand, image, and other intellectual property.”
Kloetzly, who is charging Swift with trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition and among other claims, wants Swift’s online e-commerce site shut down, in addition to the monetary damages he is seeking. Of the pending suit, Kloetzly exclusively told us the following: “Lucky 13 is the owner of the trademark LUCKY 13 for clothing, jewelry and other goods. Lucky 13 has a licensing program. Taylor Swift has several trademarks herself and a licensing program. She took the Lucky 13 mark and used it without my permission, for sale on t-shirts. Lucky 13 tried to resolve this matter – we asked her to become a licensee and pay us for her past use. We did not want to file suit. We just want what is fair.”